ADE all set for test flight of Rustom-2 drone on Feb14: OfficiaL

BANGALORE, Feb 4: The first test flight of indigenously produced and improved version of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) ‘Rustom-2’ will be carried out on February 14 and the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) is fully geared for it, a top official today said.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Aero India Seminar, a prelude to the biggest air show in South Asia beginning here on February 6, ADE Director P S Krishnan said the preparations were on schedule.
Weighing 1.8 tonnes, Rustom-2 would have a capacity payload of 350 kg, a wing span of 21-odd meters and an endurance of above 24 hours. Rustom-2 is in the league of US ‘Predator’ drones due to its advanced capabilities and additional payloads.
Rustom UAVs could be deployed for military missions like reconnaissance and surveillance, target acquisition, target designation, communications relay, battle damage assessment and signal intelligence.
On the development of indigenous engine for UAVs, Mr Krishnan said ADE, along with NAL and DRDE had developed the engines with 80 kg thrust from a scratch and it was ready for serial production and will be used in Nishant version of UAVs.
‘We have had four test flights of Nishant which is now fitted with the new indigenous engine. We had to ensure that we get the altitude of 3.7 kms so we had to carry some design modification to get the final altitude. Engine performance has been excellent.
‘This was the reason we could get to the desired altitude envelop, speeds and also endurance of four and half hours. Everything went well. We have supplied four LSP versions of Nishant to the army and ready for serial production. The engine was developed ovcer four years and Rs 20-odd crores have been invested on it,’ Mr Krishnan said.
Before the indigenous engine was produced ADE was purchasing them from Europe. The development of this engine was done with an active participation of private sector engine parts manufacturers in Pune and Bangalore, he said.
‘It is a siginificant from the point of view of the propulsion system is the heart of every aircraft. So you have your own propulsions,’ he said.